UFC 168: Last-Minute Guide to Saturday Night's Epic Pay-Per-View

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2013

Dec 27, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;    Chris Weidman (left) and Anderson Silva shake hands at the weigh-in for their UFC Middleweight Title Fight on December 28 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

UFC 168 promises to be one of the company's best events in the past few months. From top to bottom, you've got engaging bouts with talented fighters.

The headliner is Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman. Silva's loss to Weidman at UFC 162 was one of the biggest shocks in the company's history, and almost immediately fans wanted to see the rematch.

Now we'll find out whether Weidman is the real deal or whether he's a good fighter who happened to get a little lucky against one of the best in history.

The other co-main event is another rematch, albeit from a fight that didn't happen in UFC. Ronda Rousey will be defending her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship against Miesha Tate.

In case you're still on the fence about whether to watch UFC 168 on Saturday night, check out this quick preview.


When: Saturday, Dec. 28, at 10 p.m. ET

Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas

Watch: Pay-per-view

Live Stream: UFC.com


Top Storylines

Will Anderson Silva Avenge His Only Loss in UFC?

Dec 27, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Anderson Silva at the weigh-in for his UFC Middleweight Title Fight against Chris Weidman (not pictured) at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Pride comes before the fall.

Silva found that out the hard way at UFC 162 when he danced around the Octagon one time too many, and Weidman landed a combination of blows that ended the fight. It was a surprising result and illustrated that even the best of fighters can't let showmanship trump getting the job done.

Since Silva is 38 years old, he's not all of a sudden going to refrain from antagonizing his opponent with taunts and displays of disrespect.

Even Weidman is planning for more of the same from Silva, via USA Today's Ben Fowlkes:

I expect him to do all that stuff again. But to be honest, I don't really care. I don't spend much time thinking about what he's going to be doing.


My approach is the same as last time. Work hard in training camp, and work hard when I get in the cage. Be aggressive, follow my instincts, go forward and go for the finish.

The key will be finding the right balance between fighting and showing off.

On his game, Silva remains one of the best fighters in the world. As long as he's up for it, the challenger should be able to take back his throne.

Then again, maybe Silva is too far past his prime. He can't be great forever, and maybe he's beginning to hit a major decline. Nobody wants to admit it or is willing to see it.

Should Weidman beat "The Spider" for a second time, who knows how big of a star he could become. Getting one win against Silva could be deemed a bit of a fluke, but nobody could argue about Weidman's ability in the event he notches two victories over the Brazilian star.


Will Ronda Rousey Win in the First Round?

Dec 27, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Ronda Rousey and Misha Tate face off after the weigh-in for their UFC Women's Bantamweight Title Fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

All seven of Rousey's MMA fights have ended via armbar submission in the first round. You can call her a one-trick pony all you want, but that one trick happens to be unstoppable. Until it proves to be ineffective, Rousey would be foolish to stop from working toward that armbar in every fight.

Tate and Rousey have plenty of history. They met in Strikeforce in 2012 and then coached against one another on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter.

The smart money is on "Rowdy" Ronda making it eight-for-eight in terms of first-round submissions. She's done it before against Tate, and there's nothing that makes you think she's headed for a fall.

However, maybe Tate can be the first woman to truly test Rousey. Her striking ability is better than that of the champion, so if she could land a couple of shots in the first round, perhaps Rousey will be taken aback. She hasn't had to deal with much difficulty in the ring, so who knows how she'd handle a tough back-and-forth bout?

Here's to hoping Tate has gotten some lessons from Buster Douglas coming into this fight.


Which Fighter Will Make the Biggest Impression Outside the Main Event?

Dec 27, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;   Dustin Poirier (left) and Diego Brandao face off for their UFC Featherweight Bout on December 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

UFC 168 isn't all about the major starts, just most of it is.

Further down the card, plenty of fighters have massive stakes on the line.

Mike Whitman of Sherdog.com posited that the winner of the Josh Barnett-Travis Browne heavyweight fight will be on a fast track for a heavyweight title chance:

The winner of Saturday’s heavyweight clash between Josh Barnett and Travis Browne is expected to square off with Fabricio Werdum in what would likely serve as a No. 1 contender’s bout for the UFC heavyweight title.

Fabricio Camoes is making his return to UFC after being out for over a year. While he is unlikely to make a massive comeback, a win over Jim Miller could mean earning a few more lucrative fights down the road. Miller will be looking to stay in the top 10 of the lightweight rankings.

The opening fight of the main card isn't without drama either. Diego Brandao failed to make weight, and his opponent, Dustin Poirier, wasn't afraid to voice his displeasure, per John Morgan of MMAjunkie.

It will be interesting to see if any of these three fights will be able to steal some of the spotlight from the co-main events.